Making healthy eating choices is a highly effective way to lose unwanted pounds. Making excuses is a highly effective way to not lose unwanted pounds. So often, though, we use the excuse that we don’t make healthy eating choices because our schedules make eating out or eating fast food far more convenient than baking up some chicken breast and steaming up some fresh veggies at home.
Let’s not let eating fast be an excuse any longer – we can make healthy eating choices even when we’re on the road. Try these suggestions:
- Carry your own dressings. One of the quickest ways to add fat and calories to a meal is to order your meal with the restaurant’s default dressing. Order your chicken sandwich dry (no mayo) and add your own tastyDijon mustard. Mustard packs all the punch but is lighter on calories and has no fat. Or, order your salad sans dressing and dress it up with your own light or fat-free version, such as a nice raspberry vinaigrette that you keep in the fridge at work. And, instead of a mayonnaise-based dip for your chicken nuggets, keep a bottle of your favorite barbeque sauce in your car for a less fat- and calorie-laden option.
- Go grilled. This might require a switch for your fried-friendly taste buds, but try going grilled instead of fried. Most fast food joints offer a grilled chicken sandwich. Just be sure to opt out on the mayo.
- Go H20. Instead of calorie-ridden soda, order water with your meal. This is the hardest for me, as I am a borderline caffeine addict, but try keeping flavor packets, such as Crystal Light, in your car so that you can add some low- or no-calorie taste to your H20.
- Don’t supersize it. Instead, go with a smaller portion and eat more slowly. I am usually ready for the next bite before I even swallow the bite in my mouth. After taking a bite, try putting your fork down (or putting your sandwich down), finishing the bite, getting a drink of water, and then going for the next bite. Your tummy will be happier more quickly this way.
- Say yes to your craving. I love French fries. Because I love them, I often crave them, and not eating them causes me to crave them even more, which is not mentally healthy for me because I’ll keep craving fries until I eat fries. So, whatever your craving is, set a limit for yourself. For example, my college apartment was a quarter of a mile from an Arby’s, and I love Arby’s curly fries (anybody?). Instead of telling myself that I could never indulge in Arby’s curly fries, I allowed myself to enjoy a large fries every Wednesday. I got my fries “fix” and it wasn’t detrimental to my lifestyle of healthy eating because I was choosing to eat fries for only one meal a week. Set a limit and stick to it…If you eat Arby’s curly fries twice in a week when your limit is once, you don’t get any fries the next week!
- Choose three. Buffets are another of my weaknesses. I’m a picky eater, so being able to choose exactly what I want from an array of choices is very appealing. A piece of advice that I heard today from a friend is to choose three things from a buffet and eat only one thing from your plate at a time. For example, if you choose chicken, a veggie, and a piece of cake, eat all of your chicken before moving on to your veggie and all of your veggie before moving on to the last item. And, start with your favorite thing first. So, if your favorite is the cake, start there. The logic is that, if you know that you are going to eat all of your favorite thing because it is, after all, your favorite thing, go ahead and eat it all at the beginning so that, by the time you get to the third thing, you might be nearing full and will leave some of it uneaten on your plate.
- Have an appetizer. If you are driving thru, eat a banana in your car while waiting in line. Bananas are quite filling, and you won’t be as tempted to choose the XXXL size if you’re not quite as hungry. And, don’t wait until you’re near famished to eat. Instead, drive thru before you get really hungry so that you eat less.
If your job or lifestyle requires you to eat your meals in restaurants, check out this website, which gives guides of what to order and what not to order for different cuisines: http://www.helpguide.org/life/fast_food_nutrition.htm.